In Part 1 we noted that 2009 had produced some really good music. In Part 2 we explained that the past year had given us some really great music. Today, though, we take an unprecedented step, because a few of the platinum-level releases from 2k9 were simply a cut above the rest, necessitating the creation of a Super-Platinum LP award. But that’s okay – if artists keep cranking out more exceptional music than we have categories to deal with, we’ll keep inventing new ways of honoring their efforts.
IAMX – Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction
Darkness? Yeah, Chris Corner knows a thing or two about darkness, and in Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction he’s kind enough to escort us through a blasted, perversely alluring landscape of addiction, lust, self-loathing, sexual degeneracy, spiritual poverty and alienation that’s about as dark as it gets. And the landscape is distinctly British in a way that recalls perhaps the greatest portrait of England ever painted, TS Eliot’s The Waste Land. Read more
Part three of a series.
In the days following the murders at Columbine High School I visited the school and the grounds of Clement Park. Those walks produced this piece, which was originally published ten years ago today.
We have learned a great deal about the events that took place at Columbine since this essay was written (for instance, we now know that the “Cassie Said Yes” story never actually happened, and we also know that the whole “Trenchcoat Mafia” thing was also a media-propagated fiction). But it seemed to me that going back and revising to account for new information would damage the fabric of what I wrote in late April and early May of 1999. I have therefore elected to leave the factual inaccuracies in place. I do, however, note the spots containing errors with an asterisk (*).
Salon.com and Westword.com provide as thorough and accurate a picture as we are ever likely to have of the shootings and the aftermath, and I recommend them highly.
Sunday, May 2, 1999
It won’t stop raining, and nobody seems to care. Read more
Our Best CDs of 2008 continues today with a review of the super-premium Platinum Award winners for Excellence in rocking and rolling. As with last week’s Gold Awards, these are in alphabetical order. Band Web sites link to the band name, and if the CD is available via eMusic, that links to the CD title. (Mike Smith of Fiction 8, in last week’s comments, recommended that you buy from the band’s Web site or Amazon, if possible, because the artists get a better cut of the proceeds that way. Duly noted.)
Speaking of Fiction 8, let’s get this out of the way first
Fiction 8 – Project Phoenix
I have a rule – I never include in my official ratings CDs that I had something to do with, no matter how great I think they are. And since I co-wrote “Hegemony,” the track that closes this disc, that means that Fiction 8 is officially disqualified. This doesn’t mean I can’t tell you what I think I’d think about the record if I weren’t laboring with a conflict of interest, though. Read more
Most years are pretty good for music if you know where to look, and 2008 was no exception. It’s a shame that you have to search so hard, of course – once upon a time all you needed to keep track of what was good in the world of music was a radio. These days it requires a little effort, though, and while I lost count a long time ago, I probably sampled a few hundred CDs in the last 365. Thank the gods for the Internet and a growing network of friends who make sure to let me know whenever they hear something worthy, huh?
This is part one of three. The Platinum LP Awards will be along soon, and that will be followed by the CD of the Year post. So here we go with last year’s Gold Awards for Very Good CDs. These are in alphabetical order, more or less. Band Web sites link to the band name, and if the CD is available via eMusic, that links to the CD title. If you want to purchase from eMusic, click on the link in the right column for a really good deal (as in lots of free downloads).
Here’s how the blurb at CD Baby puts it:
Cinematic ethereal, spaghetti western flavored retro-futuristic music with powerful female vocals. // A sweeping, cinematic, wide-screen journey that combines ethereal sound scapes with surf-tinged guitar. Perfect for those late night rides across the desert with the top down.
Uniquely original retro-futurism.
Yeah, that’s fair. But there’s a lot more to say about The Lost Patrol and their new CD, Midnight Matinee, which has quickly vaulted onto my list of likely 2008 platinum awards. Read more
Today S&R presents a second TunesDay, completely free of charge.
The anticipation is finally over: Project Phoenix, the new CD from Fiction 8, is now out. And was it ever worth the wait.
S&R readers may know F8 front man Mike Smith without realizing it: he’s a frequent commenter here (and I’ll let him unmask if he so chooses). So for us, this TunesDay is about family, sorta.
The new disc represents a significant step forward for the band. Read more
One of my top CDs for 2007 was Walking With Strangers by The Birthday Massacre. And one of the top CDs of 2005 was Violet, also by TBM. About the harshest criticism I could muster for last year’s effort was that it wasn’t appreciably better than the 2005 release, but given how great Violet was, that’s hardly a damning critique.
If you’ve never encountered The Birthday Massacre before, let me see if I can describe them for you. The ’80s post-punk influences are evident and the haunted dollhouse goth edge to their aesthetic owes plenty to the likes of the late great Switchblade Symphony. Read more